Thomas Cook 'determined' to win battle for consumer attention at Christmas

Thomas Cook: James Nesbitt stars in travel group's latest campaign
Thomas Cook: James Nesbitt stars in travel group's latest campaign

Thomas Cook is readying the launch of a £10m campaign to go live on Boxing Day, as the brand's marketing director Mike Hoban vies for consumers' attention in the most important marketing period of the year for the travel industry.

Hoban told Marketing that Thomas Cook had doubled its investment this Christmas and that he was "determined to win the battle for consumer attention" over the period.

The campaign, created by Publicis, features James Nesbitt in three TV ads, supported by extensive outdoor and digital activity.

The new ads showcase Thomas Cook's revamped "sunny heart" branding, and aims to drive customer awareness of the brand's "high-tech, high-touch" transformation, while highlighting its online capabilities through the "Let's go! to" strapline.

The tongue-in-cheek executions use Nesbitt as a father of a family of four to demonstrate three elements of Thomas Cook's product offering – the online live-chat facility in which consumers can talk directly with sales people online; online recommendations of the brand's hotels from customer reviews to Tripadvisor write ups, and exclusive experiences at the brand's "concept" hotels.

Rival travel company TUI will launch its own campaign for Thomson Holidays, featuring Simon the Ogre, the day after Thomas Cook's campaign airs. Hoban said the company was investing "significantly more" than TUI is this Christmas, with the addition of having invested in its retail stores.

He said: "[TUI] has focused on its Dreamliners and we're focusing on hotels. Most people spend their time in their hotels. Consumers look forward to seeing new holiday campaigns at Christmas – it's part of the season's tradition and January is the most important part of the year to book holidays,"

Hoban said the campaign marked a "resurgence" in Thomas Cook's marketing activity, which he claims "brings to life" the brand's business strategy for its staff as much as for its consumers.

He said: "We want to continue on the path that we started on – last year was a big turnaround year for Thomas Cook where we made significant progress, which we want to continue. We are a business which is about growth and investing and this is about investing in marketing for growth."

Thomas Cook returned to profit this year after a business restructure sought to overturn the company's series of emergency loans, travel-agency closures, job cuts and profit warnings.

In addition, the company's Hotels4U brand has undergone a complete overhaul and will be launching a new campaign targeting "do-it-yourself travellers".

Hoban said: "Hotels4U was one of the businesses that we uncovered in the review of Thomas Cook's UK business. We're now seeking to make it famous and to take a share of the independent traveller market.

"This is a resurgent Thomas Cook, launching a two-pronged attack at the most important time of the year."

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